Hopeful contestants stand in line to audition for American Idol in Genoa Park on Sept. 12. Credit: Courtney Voisard | Lantern Reporter

Could the next American idol be found in Columbus?

That’s what many hoped for as they lined up at Genoa Park to audition in front of “American Idol” producers last Wednesday.

Columbus was one of the program’s final stops along its 2018 cross-country summer tour on Wednesday, as show producers held auditions near the bank of the Scioto River in search of the next American Idol.

Daylong auditions for the 17th season of “American Idol” were scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., but some of the eager talent began claiming their spots in line as early as 5 a.m.

As the sun rose over the Columbus skyline, a long line of hopeful musicians could be seen — and heard — winding down Washington Boulevard, passing the time by singing for each other as they waited for their chance to audition in front of one of five producers.

“We have had a pretty huge turnout,” Patrick Lynn, senior supervising producer, said. “Everybody seems to be super positive — this is a great town.”

“We have been here since five this morning,” said Jeff Miller, father of 18-year-old self-taught musician Kylie Miller.

Kylie Miller poses with her guitar after becoming a finalist for American Idol in Genoa Park on Sept. 12. Credit: Courtney Voisard | Lantern Reporter

Kylie Miller, who traveled from her hometown of Hamilton, Ohio, to audition with her original song “Dear Indigo,” said her lifelong passion for music and inspiring others to pursue creativity is what compelled her to stand in front of the producer on Wednesday.

“Music is my feeling, my purpose and my passion,” Kylie said. “It is what I want to pursue. I am studying engineering, but music has always been what I wanted to do.”

“Amazing” is the word that Adam Vanhoose of Dayton used to describe the feeling of earning his “golden ticket” and entering the next round of auditions.

“They actually made me go from one judge to the next judge — they had my heart racing and I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I made it,” Vanhoose said.

Vanhoose, who auditioned for “X-Factor” in 2013, will join Kylie and several other golden ticket holders in traveling to a currently undisclosed location in either Denver or Atlanta to perform in front of celebrity judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

Those who make it through secondary auditions will then travel to compete in Hollywood before the live show begins.

“Emotions today were mostly up, mostly high. It has generally been pretty positive. But, not everyone is going to walk away happy,” Lynn said. “But whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

That is the insight that Lynea Diller, a third year in agricultural systems management at Ohio State, gained from her “Idol” audition.

Though Diller did not move on to the next round, she walked away from the judge’s table in good spirits, grateful for the experience. Diller said she saw the audition as a way to focus on bettering herself rather than considering it a loss.

“Don’t give up if you get one ‘no,’” Diller said. “Don’t give up if you get turned down for the first time.”

Season 17 of American Idol is set to premiere on ABC in 2019.